By DARRON PATTERSON
McGill-Toolen’s equipment manager has a real friend in Braylon McReynolds. The senior running back only carried seven times in the Yellow Jackets’ 38-0 shutout of arch rival Murphy Friday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium,, and he left the game for good with 3:16 left to go in the first half.
Oh, and he had 181 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 3, 51 and 80 yards before leaving with his white jersey looking like it didn’t even need washing.
“When you look at things from a different perspective and you work on these things constantly, stuff just falls into place,” said McReynolds of his performance. “So I thank my coaches, and with the ambition that’s given me from my parents and my family, that’s all I need.”
Oh boy, did things ever fall in place for McReynolds and the Class 6A Jackets (3-2) against the 7A Panthers (1-5). On the way to their third straight shutout victory, they held Murphy to less than 80 yards rushing and 14 first downs, most coming in garbage time late in the game, as well as 78 yards passing. They had the Panthers’ offense on lockdown all night long.
“We pitched another shutout and we’re real proud of our defense,” said McGill-Toolen coach Norman Joseph. “I’m proud of our coaching staff and proud of this team. We’re getting better every week. I think as the season progresses and our quarterback continues to get more reps, we’re going to be just fine. We’re learning we’re not where we want to be but we’ll get better.”
His sophomore quarterback getting more playing time is crucial, Joseph said, especially since Michael Crocker, one of the state’s best high school golfers, just came off the greens a few weeks ago to help out a quarterback position beset by injuries to the starters. He wasn’t great against Murphy, but the way the defense played he didn’t have to be.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect and hadn’t prepared for,” said defensive lineman Anthony Brown.
Crocker scored on an 8-yard run and hit wide receiver William Taylor on a 51-yard TD pass, while Michael Shine was good on all five of his PATs and kicked home a 23-yard field goal late in the game. And so, the cannon at Government and Houston Streets gets an orange paints job for a seventh straight year as the winner of this game gets to coat it in school colors.
The Jackets get back to 6A, Region 1 play with a visit to Baldwin County High this Friday, while Murphy hosts region rival Baker.
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